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Crisis looms after 350 hospitals decline to take NHIF payments

Rural Private Hospitals Association of Kenya (Rupha) says NHIF has not disbursed any funds despite many promises

An NHIF outpatient centre

A grave situation is unfolding in more than 350 rural hospitals throughout Kenya, signaling an imminent crisis in healthcare provision.

These vital medical facilities, which cater to remote communities, have been compelled to take a drastic step: rejecting National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) cards as from May 31 due to a lack of disbursed funds.

As a result, they are now insisting on cash payments from patients in need of medical treatment.

The Rural Private Hospitals Association of Kenya (Rupha), an organization representing healthcare centers across 43 counties, has expressed profound concern over the NHIF's alarming failure to remit a single coin for the April-June 2023 quarter.

The inability to receive the expected funds has forced these hospitals into a dire situation, with inadequate resources to meet their operational needs, including paying salaries to healthcare personnel.

The NHIF Board's repeated promises, made since April, that payments would be made have only deepened the frustration and disappointment felt by the healthcare centers.

Despite these assurances, the accounts of these hospitals remain devoid of the expected financial support, exacerbating an already critical situation.

“As a result of the board’s failure to honour its financial commitments, the health facilities under the Rupha are left with no other recourse but to issue an immediate notice that beneficiaries of the NHIF Capitated Schemes will be required to make cash payments to access services, effective from May 31, 2023,” said Rupha chairman Brian Lishenga.

In a concerning turn of events, the Rural Private Hospitals Association of Kenya (Rupha) issued a notification on May 25th to NHIF cardholders seeking outpatient services.

The announcement delivered a striking blow to individuals relying on the NHIF coverage, as it revealed that their credit limits with the hospitals had been entirely depleted.

Consequently, patients would now be obliged to make cash payments for their medical expenses.

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